So I was dancing on my toes, I was looking at the sky, I was looking down at the pavement – I was looking anywhere but in that woman’s eyes.
I was seven years old and I was out with my mother, and we’d bumped into one of her friends on a London Street. It was the friend with the jutting jaw and the hard voice that I really didn’t like. And as I ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ and danced about, my mother looked at me rather fiercely. “Well, Oona?”
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My mother had an eyebrow that used to arch at moments like that.
What I wanted to say to the woman was, “No, thank you, I don’t want to come round for tea, because you just make me feel chilly inside. So I don’t want to come ever, actually.”
But of course, I knew I couldn’t say that. So I didn’t say anything and we finally said our goodbyes.
That’s when my mother marched me around the corner. She tore into me.
“Oona! How could you be so rude?” and so on.
You know, I must have embarrassed her. And she wanted to make sure that I felt very wrong – that I knew that that kind of behaviour was really, really wrong. And I did feel very wrong.
This meant that later, when I became a teacher, I didn’t want to make the children feel wrong. And when I had my own son, I was committed to not making him feel wrong, like I had felt wrong.
Maybe you’re a bit like me and you don’t want to do that to your children either.
And, like me, you may have found out that it’s harder than you think it’s going to be. It’s relatively easy when they’re babies, but as they grow up and want even more autonomy, it’s harder.
On my journey through several decades, I’ve found that it’s about connection rather than correction.
Through connection, you literally find your child’s willingness switch. so that they respond willingly when you ask them to do something, maybe even going the extra mile and doing something more, because you’ve touched them – because you’ve connected with them.
It’s very different to the resistance that we might normally see with the usual approaches, which are to do with instruction, checking, reminding and nagging. There are a lot of common practices that we think we need to use as parents that actually work against connection, and that make it really difficult to find the flow in family life.
I lay out the steps for how to guide your children with connection in my free guide below – Solve the Struggle with Your Kids. If you haven’t already, why don’t you download it now? It gives you an overview of how to have a happier family, with a breakdown of the strategies involved, including examples.
Because, actually, that’s what we all want, isn’t it – a happy family? And it feels so incredible when you’ve achieved that.
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
The 6 Wise Parenting Powers
Download my no cost guide to raising a secure and happy family.